AU alum explores the world through 'career jumping'

Correction appended

Many AU graduates facing a fickle job market may be looking to plunge into their “dream” career path.

However, AU alumnus Adam Hasler, SIS/CAS ’05, took risks by “career jumping,” from owning a coffeehouse in D.C. to taking an apprenticeship in Buenos Aires, to find the job he loves.

Hasler was one of four professionals featured in a Jan. 12 Fast Company magazine article about the ever-changing careers of people today.

He co-owned and managed Modern Times Coffeehouse, in the basement of Politics and Prose bookstore, with Javier Rivas soon after graduating AU. Hasler sold his stake in the coffeehouse in 2009.

“I didn’t feel challenged,” Hasler said of his decision to leave the coffeehouse.

Around this time, he had been “tinkering with electronics and programming” and writing his own “personal research on intellectual and cultural history.”

Hasler has applied to the MIT Media Lab’s Civic Media Master’s program and currently waits tables at a luxury restaurant in Cambridge, Mass.

Anya Kamenetz said in the Fast Company article that people tend to move around jobs a lot more often, and keeping one job is no longer commonplace.

A “clean-cut” career path is not necessarily the answer for everyone entering this job market, College of Arts and Sciences advisor Anne Kaiser said.

“I think it’s better to go for the broader career — it might be harder to get a job at first,” Kaiser said. “But it’s what you do through internships and other jobs that allow you to develop an interest in different fields, in different programs.”

Reaching out to professors and student advisors and using the tools he was given at AU to expand his interests, Hasler is a restless professional, continuing to grow into the career that he visualizes for himself.

In some fields, this frequent job change is due to the rapid technological advancements that are taking place today. History Professor April Shelford said many jobs can “become ‘obsolete’ due to automation.”

“What I did as a graphic designer, a person can now teach themselves on Desktop Publishers,” Shelford said.

She also said the importance of taking courses in the humanities departments is that a person is learning “how to learn” in order to adapt to the job market. Hasler said he came away from AU with a similar idea.

“I realized that college was a place to learn to break things down, and I learned a lot, but I entered the job market with almost a blank slate, with more things to learn,” Hasler said.

After graduating, Hasler focused on art, design, technology and international development separately. Hasler said he could better integrate all three into his ideal career by capitalizing on what these areas offered.

“I take a lot of the stuff I learned while helping to make art and apply it to international development issues,” he said.

Kamenetz noted in her Fast Company article that Hasler’s resume can seem “unfocused,” as if he’s “jumped around a lot” in the search for his career from managing a business and writing about art and history in D.C. to working in Buenos Aires at a new media art studio in 2010 to his current job waiting tables.

Hasler said all these jobs were a means to challenge himself and combine all of his interests.

“You may find that the best thing you’ll ever do is something that you create yourself,” Hasler said.

He said he has strived to take a lot of chances and to build on his skill sets, giving great breadth to his professional experiences.

“Well, you have to remember, I’m still just a waiter” Hasler said.

A previous version of this article incorrectly quoted Adam Hasler as saying, "I'm still very poor." Hasler actually said, "I'm still just a waiter"

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